For all the big-name headliners — Foo Fighters, Tool, Korn, Judas Priest, Rob Zombie — and relatively well-known mid-card acts, there are plenty of off-the-radar performers set to light up the stage at this weekend’s Epicenter Festival, such as Mastodon, The Cult, Meshuggah, Beartooth, Mark Lanegan Band, Yungblud and more.
Taking place in Rockingham, North Carolina, from May 10-12, the inaugural Epicenter Festival is worth the drive for Charlotte-area fans of hard rock and heavy metal.
Here are five must-see artists who are sure to make a lasting mark on the weekend:
The Fever 333
If there’s any band who has taken the torch from Rage Against the Machine and run with it, it’s The Fever 333. The band’s set last year at Carolina Rebellion was jaw-dropping. They merge metal, rock and punk with plenty of political sentiment that’s enraging as much as it is empowering. This might be the best set of the weekend and it takes place at 4:30 on Sunday on the Monster Energy Stage.
Indie blues-rock outfit Reignwolf is led by the frantic frontman/guitarist Jordan Cook. There’s no reason this band shouldn’t be as big as the Black Keys with their fusion of garage rock, punk, blues and all the soul and energy you can imagine. Don’t miss their set at 3:55 p.m. on Sunday.
While many people think of Tom Morello’s solo work in the context of The Nightwatchman, it’s important to remember that the guitarist has a whole lot of pent up energy from Rage Against the Machine, Prophets of Rage and Audioslave. His latest solo performances are plugged in and fill of techniques that make him one of this generation’s greatest guitar players. Catch him on the Pine Stage at 6:40 p.m. on Sunday.
L.A.’s The Interrupters are the lone act holding the ska-punk torch at this year’s Epicenter Festival. Fronted by Aimee Interrupter, the band’s lead single “She’s Kerosene” is catchy has hell and their 5:10 p.m. set on Sunday will provide a nice break from the metal and mayhem this weekend.
The Ohio-based rock band Black Coffee isn’t even on some of the official schedules, but don’t miss their performance to officially kick off the inaugural Epicenter Festival. Playing at 1:35 p.m. on the Pine Stage, the quartet has a heavy ‘70s influence that shines through.
Honorable mention: Don’t miss Saturday’s 3:55 p.m. performance by supergroup The Damned Things, featuring Anthrax’s Scott Ian, Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley of Fall Out Boy, Keith Buckley of Every Time I Die and Dan Andriano of Alkaline Trio.